10 Minutes With: Jan Bretschneider, Restaurant Roots

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd December 2016

Having travelled the globe through his cooking, German born, Jan Bretschneider eventually settled in the UK firstly at the 3 AA Rosette Hartwell house in Buckinghamshire and then later at the 3 AA Rosette hotel and shooting lodge, Langshott Manor.

From there he and his wife, Stacey set up the modern fine dining restaurant, Restaurant Roots in Bournemouth which is celebrating its first anniversary this month.

The Staff Canteen caught up with Jan to talk about winning over the locals, using only the best suppliers and plans for the future.

Hammock peaches leek and girolles
Hammock peaches leek and girolles 

Jan and Stacey first met when they were both working at Hartwell house which holds three rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide. They later left to work for the 3 AA Rosette, Langshott Manor where Jan was a budding sous chef and Stacey a pastry chef.

Quickly forming a relationship, the two ended up living and working together and later decided it was time to move on to pursue other ventures. Originally from the coastal shores of Bournemouth, Stacey wanted to return to her hometown but the two were torn between working somewhere creative or setting up their own place, they chose the latter.

“Since the bank didn’t give us enough of a mortgage to buy a house we figured we’d take the money and open a restaurant,” Jan explained. “We found this place in Southbourne but Stacey was very sceptical because it’s Southbourne, no one comes here.”

Despite initial fears that the location might not draw in a regular customer base, Jan has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback their niche restaurant has received, especially from the locals.

“So far it’s worked a treat because the locals love us which is great we have some who have been here 10,11, even 12 times and they just sit down and know what they want.”

He continued: “We have Emma she comes once every 2 weeks to have the 5 course dinner, always with the Merlot, always cheese and no dessert. But she’s so lovely and her husband as well, we know them by name.

“We had one customer who lived in Dorset for 19 years and hasn’t been out in 17 because she didn’t want to waste her money, she said she could cook her own steak at home. Her husband persuaded her to come here and now they come once a month!”

Restaurant Roots
Restaurant Roots

Wanting to excite their guests through unique flavour combinations, Jan and Stacey chose to specialise in various tasting menus to reflect their creative flair. However, there is also an a la carte option as well as a traditional Sunday roast for customers who need to be eased into trying the distinctive 5 or 7 course tasting options.

“Most of the customers we have now is down to to the Sunday lunch, we’ve always said don’t judge us on the dinner options, come here for Sunday lunch and see our roast. We’re not going to beat your mum or your dad but if we can be second on the best time ever list then that’s where we want to be.”

>>> Read more 10 Minutes With here

Wanting to supply their customers with high quality produce, Jan and Stacey use only the best reputable suppliers in the business despite not necessarily being local.

“I’ve got my meat supplier and whatever he charges me I pay double the asking,” he explained. “There’s a reason Tom Kerridge uses him and there’s a reason Lucknam Park use him, yes we pay for the quality but I haven’t had one complaint from a customer about meat being tough or flavourless.”

He continued: “I remember when we first started we tried to be as local as possible I asked every single supplier, they talk the talk but they can’t walk the walk, now we’re really happy with what we’ve got.”

This month sees Restaurant Roots celebrate its first anniversary. Having spent the first 12 months finding their feet and establishing themselves within the community, Jan and Stacey now know exactly where they want to be and what they want to achieve with their niche restaurant.

Rump of beef, truffle, turnip, watercress

“We see ourselves as a neighbourhood restaurant with attitude and the attitude is towards good food. And that’s where we see ourselves, we thought, you know what, if Tom Kerridge can get 2 Michelin stars with a pub, which is just fantastically good food, why can’t we have the same idea of a neighbourhood restaurant with good food? Yes it may be a little bit more expensive than other neighbourhood restaurants but the quality will prevail.”

>>> You can follow Jan's profile here

Speaking about the future Jan and Stacey are looking forward to the coming year and what exciting prospects lie ahead including starting a family (Stacey has since given birth to their first child) and moving their business forward.

“At the moment we’re having a look into an afternoon tea house because obviously Stacey is pastry based and she’s a fantastic pastry chef, people are amazed by the quality of the pastry here.”

Jan continues: “We would like to bring an afternoon tea business to Dorset and do it properly. It’s all about the grandeur so the rooms have to be right, you need the big rooms, big windows, great service and the right tea."

By Michael Parker @canteenparker

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd December 2016

10 Minutes With: Jan Bretschneider, Restaurant Roots